(fwd) Idealistic Farmer Takes from the Past, Looks Toward the Future

robert schuler sunnfarm at bellatlantic.net
Sat Jul 15 18:59:03 EDT 2000


95000, That is the number of Joel Salatins needed to meet the demands of the Delmarva
broiler industry that produces over 11 million broilers a week.
Plenty of rain on the coast took a vacation from lugging irrigation pipe we all got our
fingers crossed that we wont get any disease this week till things dry out.
Sunny Meadow Farm
Bridgeton, NJ.

"Lawrence F. London, Jr." wrote:

> On 15 Jul 2000 00:34:58 GMT, in alt.sustainable.agriculture
> aozotorp at aol.com (Aozotorp) wrote:
>
> From the 7/14/2000 ABC Evening News:
>
> http://abcnews.go.com/onair/WorldNewsTonight/wnt000714_21st_salatin_feature.
> html
>
> Headline:
>
> 21st Century Lives:
> Joel Salatin
>
>  Idealistic Farmer Takes from the Past, Looks Toward the Future
>
> Joel Salatin runs a kinder, gentler farm in Virginia. (ABCNEWS.com)
>
> By Peter Jennings
>
> July 14 - You can call Joel Salatin a lot of things - farmer,
> businessman,
> philosopher - just don't call him an organic farmer.
>      "We don't use the term organic, we say we're beyond organic," the
> 43-year-old Virginian says.
>      Maybe he's taking the organic movement into the 21st century by
> taking
> it back to the pasture. Some might call it alternative agriculture.
> Organic
> food has become big business. Consumers now spend $6 billion a year on
> meat
> and produce that carry the organic label. And more and more, says
> Joel, that
> label is being used when it shouldn't be.
>      "Organic has become such a generic term," he says.
>      Take free-range chicken, for example.
>      "Free range can be anything from a dirt strip outside of a
> confinement
> house to where they're moved every day to a completely fresh pasture,"
> he
> says.
> Catering to the Animals
> And that difference is what Joel Salatin's farm is all about. "We ask
> the
> animals, 'What is it that you want?' and then try to duplicate that or
> give
> that to them as close as we possibly can," he says.
>      When you let the animals determine how they live, says Joel,
> nature
> takes over, and begins to take care of itself.
>      "Let the animals do the work," he says. "Let the pigs turn the
> compost
> instead of $15,000 machines."
>      And let the chickens take care of the insects. Joel's hen house,
> dubbed
> the "egg mobile," follows his cows, and the chickens clean up behind
> them.
>      "We don't see waste," he says. "We see resource!"
>      It's profitable, too. The Salatin farm cleared $200,000 last
> year. But
> it's not designed to be an empire.
>      "What we want to do is instead of us making more money, is we
> would
> like to see thousands and thousands like us access their
> neighborhood," he
> says.
>      Access their own neighborhoods with locally grown food - sold
> right out
> of the fields.
>      "We're talking about carrots that are literally just a couple of
> hours
> old by the time they get to the chef," he says.
>      It's a bit of an understatement to say that Joel has farming in
> his
> blood. The last four generations of Salatins have farmed since they
> emigrated here from farms in Switzerland. His farm in Swoope, Va., has
> been
> in the family since his parents bought it in 1961. But the farm hasn't
> seen
> an ounce of fertilizer in 40 years.
>
> Growing in Popularity
> Joel believes that as consumers become even more savvy about their
> food
> supply, his kind of farm will only become more popular. After all,
> it's hard
> to compare the image of a typical hog farm, which usually finds the
> animals
> swilling around in dirty water, with Joel's pigs, covered in flowered
> grasses. Or, for that matter, a standard chicken factory with Joel's
> happy
> hens.
>      "The difference between that and looking at our birds out here on
> the
> green grass chasing down crickets and grasshoppers, it's really a
> no-brainer," he says.
>      It's all about who's growing the food, says Joel: a conglomerate
> or a
> real farmer. The difference can be felt all over the country.
>      "Somebody living in New York City can sit down at a meal and say,
> 'Yes,
> this was made by someone who cared,'" he says. "That's a sacred trust.
> That'
> s a life worth living, that's a legacy to leave."
>
> ============
>
> Other Links:
>
> http://www.webcom.com/outbooks/youcanfa.html
>
> YOU CAN FARM
> The Entrepreneur's Guide to Start and Succeed in a Farming Enterprise
> by Joel Salatin
>  $30.95 postpaid
> Order Now
> "A half century ago farming was the most common profession in America;
> nowadays it's one of the most difficult fields to enter. Fewer than
> two
> million farmers now make $1,000 or more a year in agriculture, and
> many of
> them are farmers by title only, rarely driving a tractor or planting
> seed or
> feeding livestock.
> Joel Salatin, best known for his book "Pastured Poultry Profits"
> (Chelsea
> Green, 1996), is on a mission to prove that it is possible to farm
> full-time
> in ways that are both enjoyable and lucrative. His own farm, Polyface
> ("many
> faces") in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, is a showcase for
> alternative,
> sustainable agriculture on a small scale."
>
> http://www.animalwelfare.com/farm/virginia.htm
>
> Virginia Farmer Raises Free Ranging Chickens
>
> There are still some farmers who believe in treating their animals to
> natural surroundings, not only in order to raise healthier animals but
> for
> ethical values as well. On a small farm in the Shenandoah Valley near
> Swoope, Virginia, Joel Salatin is doing just that with his chickens.
>
> "The long term benefits for society are greater because we are
> treating our
> animals better. But we don't do it for business reasons. We do it
> because
> it's right." Salatin explained.
>
> Salatin has developed a portable "Eggmobile" contraption which houses
> 100
> laying hens. These hens forage as far as 200 yards from their home
> during
> the day. They naturally come back to roost so no fences are necessary
> to
> keep them contained. Salatin explained that on the usual "factory
> farm"
> laying hens are kept under prolonged lighting to create the illusion
> of
> spring time. They are therefore always laying eggs. On the Salatin
> family
> farm the hens are well aware of what season it is and go through the
> natural
> winter rest period.
>
> Salatin also raises about 6000 Cornish cross broilers a year. These
> chickens
> are kept in 2 foot tall mobile homes that are moved over fresh grass
> every
> morning. About 100 animals are kept in each house. A pen of the same
> size on
> a factory farm would contain some 1000 to 1500 birds.
>
> Both hens and broilers have a diet that is substantially different
> from
> their unlucky relatives on factory farms. Because the hens are
> free-ranging
> they are able to choose their own food. Not only is this accomplished
> by
> natural foraging but Salatin gives them several different feeds to
> chose
> from as well. He believes, depending on each individual chicken's
> health and
> the time of year, these birds will choose the food that is healthiest
> for
> them. Since the broiler houses are moved to fresh grass every morning,
> the
> broilers also have the same opportunity to choose their own diet. Both
> hens
> and broilers obviously get plenty of green material, something that
> would be
> unusual on a factory farm and they are never given steroids or
> antibiotics
> which induce unnaturally rapid growth. One of the results, and also
> the
> reason why it is economically sensible to raise animals in such a
> manner, is
> that the lifespan of a laying hen on Joel Salatin's farm is generally
> three
> years compared to a normal factory farm lifespan of one year.
>
> Lawrence F. London, Jr. Venaura Farm ICQ#27930345
> lflondon at mindspring.com  london at metalab.unc.edu
> metalab.unc.edu/intergarden InterGarden
> metalab.unc.edu/permaculture PermaSphere
> metalab.unc.edu/intergarden/orgfarm AGINFO
>
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